Top 13 Creepy Tales From The Darkside Episodes – Most Underrated Anthology Horror Show Of All Time!

    “Man lives in the sunlit world of what he believes to be reality.

    But… there is, unseen by most, an underworld, a place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit… a dark side.”

    Who can forget Paul Sparer’s terrifying entrance, which combined the scariest opening tune ever with an evil-looking red title? Yes, we’re talking about George A. Romero’s Tales from the Darkside, which unquestionably included some of the most terrifying episodes ever seen on television.

    This anthology horror television series debuted in 1983 with a pilot, drawing influence from the iconic EC comic book of the 1950s. From 1984 until 1988, the series was syndicated weekly by Tribune Broadcasting at midnight, resulting in 89 episodes spanning four seasons.

    The series is ardently cherished as the most classic horror anthology ever, one that was not afraid of going into unexplored territory, spanning aspects of horror, science fiction, fantasy, and to some extent, dark humour.

    In this video, we’ll walk you through 13 of the creepiest Tales from the Dark Side episodes that are guaranteed to make you jump out of your skin.

    Inside the Closet

    Inside the Closet

    Inside the Closet is the seventh episode of the first season, directed by Tom Savini and written by Michael McDowell. Gail Aynsley, a graduate student, rents a room in a large house owned by a professor from her college. There’s a closet in her room that hasn’t been opened in a long time.

    Gail starts hearing unusual noises and scampering around as the days pass, which she initially mistook for rodents. However, something soon emerges from the closet, something Gail was most likely unprepared for.

    Full credits to Savini for coming up with such an unsettling monster; so much so that it not only became the face of the series but it also the cover of the DVD collection.

    Coming to the appearance of this creature here, it looks more like a cross between a human and a chimpanzee. The pale, chalky whiteskin of the creature makes it look even more scary; goes without saying that the makeup effect sare absolutely terrific.

    But don’t make the mistake of judging Lizzie by her diminutive stature. It is not only lethal, but it is also extremely fast. It is capable of leaping onto its victim’s back and clawing away at them. It’s so powerful that it can easily flip a human being using force capable of murdering its victim in an instance.

    Inside the Closet is one of the best episodes of the entire series. The story is extremely absorbing and moves at a brisk pace with a solid impression of mystery. The single room setting is bound to give its audience some major moments of nail-biting tension added with an unavoid ablesense of  claustrophobia . You also cannot miss out on  Robert Draper’s stunning work of cinematography here, which mostly plays with our basic fear of things like what’s underneath the bed or say what’s hiding inside the closet? The fact that we as viewers can actually relate to the show makes this quite an effective little tale here.

    Halloween Candy

    Halloween Candy

    Mr. Killup, who seemed to have earned the moniker of the meanest man on the block, is the subject of the fifth episode of the second season. He’s a cruel old man who not only enjoys tormenting trick or treaters, but also despises the holiday.

    It’s no surprise when he receives an unexpected visitor in the form of a Halloween goblin. The old man, understandably, refused to give him a candy, prompting the goblin to punish him by locking him outside of time with little to no sustenance.

    Believe us when we tell you that Tom Savini’s Halloween Candy conclusively happens to be one of the highpoints of the second season. Credits to Savini for not only directing this episode so well but also coming up with a goblin design that is actually consideredas one of his best creations.

    The captivating story moves at a steady pace with the audience completely hooked on to the screen and we have Michael McDowell to thank for that. After all, it’s his script and his exclusive concept of the ‘goblin candy’ just cannot be disregarded.

    Starting from the hallucinations on display, candy bags filled with bugs to the house crawling with cockroaches, things become even more disturbing as the element of suspense unfolds. Believe us when we say that the appropriately dark macabre climax will really blow your mind!

    The fact that the monster in question is really gnarly and terrible to look at only adds to its horror. Savini is astute enough to never offer us a full view of the creature; instead, we only see it through shadows and peeks through the window, making it all the more mysterious and terrifying. What’s even creepier is how the goblin tortures the elderly guy on a night that never seems to end, no matter what he does.

    It has been nothing less than a delight to witness John Edward Allen in excellent makeup as the goblin uncompromisingly tormenting  Roy Poole’s  Mr. Killup. Halloween Candy happens to be a pure classic; creepy in every way and we highly recommend that you give this a shot!

    The Devil’s Advocate

    The Devil’s Advocate

    There are no doubts that this episode will be a hit, especially since the writer is none other than master Romero himself. The seventh episode of the second season centres on LutherMandrake, a haughty, cruel, and egotistical late-night radio talk show host who eventually transforms into a horrific looking demon due to his relentless fury and pessimism. Mandrake discovers that he has not only died, but has also been doomed to an eternity in hell, where he will be subjected to ‘forever and ever’ calls.

    Director Michael Gornick makes full usage of the claustrophobic radio booth setting and the low budget of course. And, blessed with a witty script of Romero, he effortlessly manages to create a genuinely entertaining episode, one that will always be remembered for its morbid environment and a more than perfect plot twist ending.

    Full credits to the late  veteran  comic actor,  Jerry Stiller for not only being a one-man show in this episode but for also putting up a magnificent performance.  There’s no disputing that Stiller sunk his teeth into the job, and his character’s repeated snide remarks will make you despise him.

    Mandrake’s toxic personality and disgusting grandiloquence make him the absolute mouthpiece for the Devil, from giving his callers a hard time and holding them responsible for all the world’s problems to the amount of his own bad luck.

    So, when he begins to grow facial hair, his nails become sharper, and he eventually begins to deteriorate, you won’t feel sorry for him. To top it off, Ed French’s Mandrake special effects makeup is fantastic. In the end, it’s difficult to miss out on those horns.

    Do not miss out on this creepy tale here; The Devil’s Advocate inarguably happens to be the strongest half hour of the series and also one that we highly recommend.

    Seasons of Belief

    Seasons of Belief

    If you ever have the chance to get your hands on a handful of Tales from the Darkside episodes, make sure you pick the eleventh episode from the third season without hesitation.

    Seasons of Belief, directed and co-written by Michael McDowell, is about two mischievous youngsters, Jimbo and Stefa, who don’t believe in Santa Claus and end up demanding a Christmas story.

    This prompts their parents to tell children a different kind of Christmas story about a monster named Grither who lives in an old ship within the North Pole’s mountainous tunnels. The specialty of this dangerous creature is the fact that it will hunt down and kill anyone who says its name, no matter how faraway the person happens to be.

    Starring the late E. G. Marshall as the father and the beautiful  Margaret Klenck  as the mother, this episode happens to be the epitome of a perfect creature feature on display. Michael McDowell’s old school technique of building up a creepy Christmas atmosphere where we know something is out there works brilliantly in favor of the episode.

    The setting of a raging snow storm outside, a warm fireplace inside and a traditional home set-upenhances the story further. The whole mood of the straightforward narrative on display changes with the wind picking up, the Christmas lights flickering and it would not be wrong to say that along with the children getting scared, the viewers also seem to be on the same boat.

    When it comes to the monster, the viewer doesn’t see it until the very end, which allows your imagination to go wild. As if the idea of a monster living in the world’s coldest and wettest region wasn’t terrifying enough, add to it the fact that it despises being talked about, and whenever its name is mentioned, its ears double in size, eventually turning into large wings.

    There are no points for guessing how it moves, and believe us when we say it moves quickly. The Grither is said to have hands that are as big as basketballs, arms as long as boa constrictors and upon finding those who have been saying its name, it simply grithers them in.

    Remember the humungous arms bursting through the windows and snapping the necks of the parents? The story is quite capable of running chills down your spine even to this very day.

    So, to those thinking it to be a conventional Christmas story are in for a major surprise and we insist that you put this episode in your must watch list right away.

    Monsters in My Room

    Monsters in My Room

    Timmy appears to be terrified of a variety of things, including the dark, what’s inside his closet, and what’s under his bed. And he has good reason, because his room is full of monsters, from the closet boogeyman to the tentacled octopus under his bed, a big buzz saw behind the dresser, and even a gruesome witch.

    To top it off, he’s having trouble bonding with his inebriated stepfather, who refuses to believe in any of his monster stories.

    Written and directed by James Sadwith , Monsters in My Room happens to be a fantastic amalgamation of horror and fantasy.The fact that the story revolves around a very basic premise, one that focusses on our childhood fears about monsters living in the dark corners of the room was something so relatable that it effortlessly made it to the list of the best Tales from the Darkside episodes.

    The 12th episode of the second season has this prevalent frightening atmosphere throughout and it’s still hard to get rid of a few scenes. While one of the scenes unquestionably happens to be the pair of demonic eyes staring at him from the closet, the other highlight of the episode has to be the gruesome witch that the audience gets to witness along with Timmy. Believe us, these scenes are bound to give you some rather nostalgic nightmares.

    Give this episode a shot for the exceedingly satisfying ending. You are going thank us later for the recommendation!

    Sorry, Right Number

    Sorry, Right Number

    If Stephen King agrees to write the screenplay, you can bet it will be a fantastic episode. The 9th episode of the fourth season, directed by John Harrison, features King telling an amazing storey about a woman who receives a bizarre and unexplainable phone call. It’s unfortunate that she arrives a little late to the party when she eventually figures out what’s going on.

    This gripping story here moves at a very quick pace and in the process builds up the tension pretty well. With the story unfolding, you will get to be a part of the ominous drama on display. Mind you, there aren’t any real elements of horror featured here but if you think that’s what takes to freak one out, you are in for a creepy surprise.

    Deborah Harmon’s as an example Katy Weiderman deserves special mention; she was just superb in her role, and it was a joy to watch her expertly convey the depths of feeling. It’s probably not a stretch to characterise this episode as a thought-provoking story, one that is both powerful, moving, and distressing.

    Also, who would have guessed that the stunning twist at the end would be so tough to predict? However, that is precisely the allure of King’s script.

    We have Joseph D.  Urbanczyk’s  work of cinematography along with  Ken Lauber’s  shuddery background score giving more edge to the whole story.And, if you pay more attention, you might even be lucky enough to see clips from Romero’s 1985 post-apocalyptic zombie flick, Day of the Dead, in this very episode. Give this a shot and find out yourself!

    The Geezenstacks

    The Geezenstacks

    The fifth episode of the third season follows Audrey, a small girl who is given a doll house by her uncle that was discovered abandoned in an empty house by its previous owners. Soon after, the father begins to see unsettling parallels between occurrences in his own family’s life and happenings in the lives of his daughter’s doll family, The Geezenstacks.

    If you happen to be someone who is a literal sucker for evil doll stories or let’s say creepy doll houses, you just cannot miss out on this haunting episode directed by Bill Travis.

    Irrefutably , one of the finest episodes in the series, Nancy Doyle’s cleverly written script further enhances the story creating an exceedingly unsettling atmosphere. The dolls on display are genuinely scary; something about their facial details, especially those dark eyes make them look creepily menacing.

    Add to this a complimenting shiverybackground score and you have in front of you an effective, well-crafted chiller. Let’s not forget about the double twist at the conclusion, and believe us when we say you’re not prepared for it!

    Also, you may not be aware that the name Geezenstack refers to odd dolls. It’s no surprise that we think it’s a good idea, and it only takes twenty minutes out of your day.

    Do Not Open This Box

    Do Not Open This Box

    The 15th episode of the fourth season, directed by Jodie Foster, centres on an elderly, miserable marriage, Charlie and his selfish, nagging wife Ruth. The lady never looks satisfied; she despises her husband and is constantly envious of her neighbours’ possessions.

    Things continued in this manner until they received a package with the words “Do Not Open This Box” inscribed on it by mistake. The postman ultimately arrives in search of the package, and it goes without saying that the wife has no intention of returning it. When the postman eventually brings the package back, he discovers that it has been opened, despite what was written on it.

    Foster effortlessly manages to keepthis story captivating and makes it move along at a commendable pace. Thanks to  Bob Balaban and Franco Amurri’s  witty script herethat gives this episode a nice, offbeat touch. We also have Steven Ross’s work of cinematography here, one that provides a rather neat look given that the incidents of the episode mostly happen inside a house.

    It’s been a real delight to see Eileen Heckart play the obnoxious, unpleasant wife here. You’ll grow to despise her character to the point where the finale presented here may really be pretty satisfying to you.

    Although the fact that the box will be opened is foreseeable, the way in which it will be done will pique your attention. Furthermore, the concept of a postman collecting souls and then sealing them up in boxes is rather disturbing.

    As a result, it wouldn’t be unfair to claim that this episode is quite dark and serves as a good Darkside episode. Please do not open. This Box is deserving of your attention.



    Susie adores her stuffed teddy bear, which she received as a birthday gift from her parents. However, she soon begins to blame her teddy bear for all of the house’s wrongdoing. Of course, the mother is pushed to breaking point by the repeated harm and her daughter’s refusal to accept responsibility.

    When you have giant bear claws ripping through the door, slashing at the walls and the scene moves to a mother clasping her equally terrified daughter in horror and shrieking, you know this is the sortof an episode which will linger with you for a while.

    Yes, we are talking about the 10th episode of the second season, Ursa Minor, which indisputably had one of the most unforgettable endings featured. Written and directed by Ted  Gershuny , the episode does a pretty good job of being an upfront, horror themed story keeping a child’s toy at its center with the sole intention of spooking out the audience. Believe us, it does the job!

    The close-up images of the bright red eyes, along with an unsettling background score and frequent growling sounds, create a frightening backdrop for the stuffed bear on display. Gershuny deserves full credit for keeping the mystery alive till the very end.

    Also, the mention of Goldilocks and the Three Bears adds to the story’s excitement, giving it a boost, and we only hope Goldilocks wasn’t ripped to shreds. One of the creepiest episodes in the series, and one that deserves to be seen.

    The Circus

    The Circus

    In terms of gore, violence, and creepiness, this Tales from the Darkside episode is unrivalled. After all, why wouldn’t it be? Once again, Romero has blessed us with a narrative, this one directed by Michael Gornick. Dr. Nis, the founder and ringmaster of the circus Exhibition of Wonder, which showcases real-life monsters as its major attraction, is the focus of the first episode of the third season.

    Meanwhile, investigative journalist Bragg delves deeper into the circus’s affairs in order to establish that they are nothing more than actors in disguise, only to realise far too late that he should not have jumped to conclusions so quickly.

    Often regarded as the best episode featured in the whole series, The Circus happens to be quite ironic and disturbing given that the person who actually comes to expose things calling it a hoax ends up as part of the troupe.

    Goes without saying that this episode here has a lot of highpoints; for starters, we have a ghoulish looking vampire residing in a coffin who has got quite an appetite for lambs apart from his regular fodder that ranges from snakes to rodents.

    Next, we have a werewolf still in human form who is kept inside a rusty cage. We also get to witness a reanimated corpse, who looks a lot like the Frankenstein monster and a desiccated mummywhose eyes still appear to move. Creepy enough?

    This twisted horror narrative may not strike you as unique, but trust us when we say it’ll keep you riveted to your seat. The episode’s creepy, frightening, yet flavorful mood is also enhanced by the excellent violin background score.

    This is for all Tales from the Darkside fans: you must watch!

    The Last Car

    The Last Car

    The 19th episode of the second season may be described as an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride. The story follows college student Stacey as she boards the last car of a train to make it home for Thanksgiving, directed by John Strysik and written by Michael McDowell.

    Strange and terrible events begin to occur everytime the train travels through a tunnel, and it does not take Stacey long to find the horrifying truth not only about the railway but also about its passengers.

    Believe us when we tell you that this episode is all about intensity and its eerie dark atmosphere. With a plethora of scenes to flaunt, each shot haunting and creepy in its own way, this story here is a metaphor for death.

    McDowell’s absorbing script smoothlydraws one in from the very first scene and keeps the audience guessing and wanting to know more. Not even for once does the episode lacks its sheen and this just shows that even with a limited budget and a healthy dose of imagination, one can create wonders – hats off to the production team for weaving around the perfect supernatural environment around.

    There are numerous situations in The Last Car that can readily be classified as highpoints. Remember when Stacey sees her own mirror closing the blinds over the window, ominously?

    That has the potential to send goosebumps up and down your spine. Also, the scene in which her character discovers the entire train full of desiccated, skeleton remains of long-dead people. To feel the dread, you must see this episode!

    This train voyage to hell is not to be missed.

    Trick or Treat

    Trick or Treat

    Trick or Treat is a standalone episode of Tales from the Darkside, directed by Bob Balaban and written by George A. Romero and Franco Amurri. The plot revolves around Gideon Hackles, a wealthy, stingy, and cruel old man with a penchant for documenting and manipulating debts owing to him.

    Gideon has local trick or treaters hunt for their parents’ hidden IOUs in his house as part of his annual Halloween custom, only to have fun later when the poor kids are afraid of his mechanical ghosts, which he purposefully exploits to terrify the heck out of them. But, trust us when we say, Mr. Hackles gets his comeuppance during the course of the night.

    This particular episode gets brownie points for being an incomparable pilot, thanks to Romero. The story works because the plot happens to be conventional and not something over the top.

    The spooky, Halloween atmosphere along with Ed French’s impressive creations are an absolute delight to witness on screen. Many of you might not know this but the Devil on display happens to be none other than French himself.

    Also, it was more than a treat to watch Frances Chaney essay the role of the mysterious, cackling witch. She was incredible, especially in the scene where she brought Mr. Hackles’ false creatures to life.

    While many people have linked this episode’s idea to Halloween Candy, it’s up to you to determine which one you prefer. We strongly advise you to watch both episodes.

    Anniversary Dinner

    Anniversary Dinner

    Henry and Elinor are an elderly couple who are getting ready to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. Sybil, a female hiker, has recently broken up with her boyfriend, and the pair invite her to celebrate with them. But, unbeknownst to Sybil, the pair has their own plans for the auspicious occasion, including preparing a peculiar and disgusting cuisine.

    Directed by John Strysik and written by James Houghton, the 13th episode of the first season happens to be based on a short story written by D. J. Pass. The episode has this sinister environment right from the beginning and you can’t help but notice that something seems to be a bit off about this country couple.

    Alice Ghostley  as the overtly sweet, charming and graceful Mrs. Elinor Colander has on display a certain character that’s exceedingly warped and wicked and yetyou wouldn’t be able to figure that out till you reach the climax.

    It’s difficult to ignore the moment in which she tosses vegetables into the hot tub and tells Sybil she can eat whatever she wants from there. Strysik deserves full credit for creating such a deliciously macabre storey with such a soothing pace.

    The twisted conclusion on show not only elevates the entire episode, but it is also without a doubt one of the best in the entire series. Still don’t believe us? Check it out for yourself.

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